The Filth and The Fury

Director Julien Temple
United Kingdom, United States / 108 min. / 2000 / English

The story of the Sex Pistols as told by the Sex Pistols (and not by McLaren) has become a classic. A film that’s pure Julien Temple: hidden faces give testimony, aided by unprecedented footage, early films, animation and abundant action. Lydon even sheds his first tear in front of the camera. The punk film, yet to be surpassed.  


The “true” story of the Sex Pistols has become a classic. The saga of what really happened to the group from 1976 to 1978 has been coated in so much myth, self-congratulation and perverse manipulation (the work of Malcolm McLaren) that a true account begged to be made. What’s certain is that The Filth & the Fury doesn’t tell the unadulterated truth either, rather the version Glen Matlock, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and John Lydon. Especially the latter, to be honest. In those days, still known as Johnny Rotten, his testimony (along with that of the other members) spun a tale of innocence, chaos, marketing (McLaren, once again), gang sentiment, betrayals, loneliness and death. The film is pure Julien Temple, and secures a format that the director would repeat in films to come: hidden faces give testimony and are reinforced by acres of unseen footage, old films (The Richard III of 1955, with an irate Laurence Olivier that’s pure anarchy avant la lettre), animation –the majority of which comes from The great rock’n’roll swindle– and oodles of action. You’ll laugh, cry and yearn to wield guitars with tremendous ignorance but sensational attitude. What more can you wish for? And Lydon even sheds his first tears on camera. This is the punk film. Yet to be beaten.

The Filth and the Fury (2000) | Trailer | Film4

Julien Temple follows up his first Sex Pistols documentary, 1980's The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle, with a more historical perspective directly from the members of this anarchistic band - Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, original member Glen Matlock and his successor Sid Vicious (bass).


Film web

Showing format

São Paulo International Film Festival (Audience Award)

in festivals
São Paulo International Film Festival

Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Johnny Rotten, Glen Matlock, Sid Vicious, Malcolm McLaren, David Bowie

Niven Howie

Joe Stevens

Anita Camarata, Amanda Temple

Film company
Nitrate Film Ltd, FilmFour

Film distributor

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